Arizona Custom Trips

Arizona is a land of frontiers, of civilization co-mingling with wilderness on all sides, of contrasts and extremes. The biologic diversity of Arizona is so great that on the slopes of the San Francisco peaks outside Flagstaff the terrain and plant life resemble that of Alaska, yet no more than 50 miles to the south is the hottest and most tropical desert in the United States, the Sonoran.

There are no limits to your outdoor adventures in this beautiful southwestern state, from mountain biking in Sedona to exploring the sky islands of the Chiricahua or backpacking the mysterious Superstition Mountains outside Phoenix, there is a place to explore in every season.

Arizona is our backyard and we love to customize private trips to our favorite places across the state – visit Antelope Canyon, see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, ride to the summit of Tucson’s Mount Lemmon, or hike to the beautiful waterfalls of Havasupai.

“Custom” is about You

At Arizona Outback Adventures we’ve been designing adventure vacations for 20 years and custom itineraries are our specialty. All it takes is a phone call, and we do the rest. Don’t forget, all of our scheduled departures can be personalized to fit your personal vacation style!

Why AOA? : Find out more About Us

Request a custom trip proposal

 

We also offer custom guided trips in:  UtahCaliforniaColorado

Get inspired by past custom trips in Arizona!


Sedona


Sedona & Grand Canyon – Sample Trip
5 day Multi-Sport

DAY 1: ARRIVE IN PHOENIX, ARIZONA AND TRANSFER TO SEDONA, ARIZONA

Following the group’s arrival in Phoenix, we will transfer to Sedona to settle into our comfortable accommodations. We will head north through the Sonoran Desert and into the high elevation plateaus and red-rock canyons of north central Arizona. Tonight we will enjoy a group dinner while your guides fill you in on the exciting days of cycling and activity ahead.

  • Driving: 2 hours
  • Lodging: Enchantment Resort in Sedona, AZ

DAY 2: SEDONA RIDE
Witnessing your first sunrise in Sedona is a magical experience and well worth the early wake up time. Today will be filled with pedal-powered sightseeing on a rolling route through Sedona with spectacular views of the red rock region. Our ride visits the world-famous Chapel of the Holy Cross where trip guests are often surprised by the powerful spirituality emanating from this simple building and its location among Sedona’s red rocks. We finish the ride and lunch at Tlaquepaque, a Sedona landmark since the 1970’s. Fashioned after a traditional Mexican village, Tlaquepaque, means the “best of everything.” Its vine covered stucco walls, cobble-stoned walkways and magnificent arched entryways give you the feeling that Tlaquepaque has been here for centuries. Tasteful galleries and unique shops live in harmony with the lush natural environment of giant sycamore trees. Choose to continue the ride to the twisting Upper Red Rock Loop that ends on the banks of Oak Creek at Red Rock Crossing which boasts the best view of Cathedral Rock in Sedona or to spend the afternoon shopping, sightseeing or at the hotel spa.

  • Cycling: 15 miles OR longer option – 30 miles (700-foot elevation gain), upper Red Rock Loop to Red Rock Crossing
  • Lodging: Enchantment Resort in Sedona, AZ

biking tour in Sedona

DAY 3: JEROME & PAGE SPRINGS RIDE
Today’s ride requires a short shuttle to Jerome, located high on top of Cleopatra Hill (5,200 feet) above what was formerly the largest copper mine in Arizona. When Jerome was a copper mining camp it was known as the wickedest town in the west, once a roaring mining community with 15,000 residents. Now home to just 450, the town boasts a modicum of artists, craftspeople, musicians, writers, and hermits. Perched on a 30º slope facing the northern skyline, the views are spectacular and a perfect starting point for today’s ride. About an hour into our ride, we will turn towards central Arizona’s wineries in the lush riparian oasis of Page Springs. We will picnic on the banks of Oak Creek under a canopy of Sycamore and Cottonwood trees with the option to taste some of the local wine.  If you opted for today’s shorter ride, you will have the choice of visiting Tuzigoot Pueblo or heading back to Sedona.  Tuzigoot was an ancient village built by a culture known as the Sinagua, agriculturalists with trade connections that spanned hundreds of miles. The pueblo consisted of 110 rooms including second and third story structures. The first buildings were built around A.D. 1000.

  • Cycling: 22 miles  (250-foot elevation gain) OR longer option 40 miles
  • Lodging: Enchantment Resort in Sedona, AZ

DAY 4: SCENIC GRAND CANYON FLIGHT & RIDE ALONG THE RIM
Grand Canyon air tourA chartered flight will carry us from Sedona to Grand Canyon National Park. Our ride today is 18 mile out and back pedal along the West Rim Drive in Grand Canyon National Park, it will leave you breathless! Closed to all vehicle traffic, this may be the most scenic stretch of paved road in North America! Along the way there are many view points and overlooks for us to stop and admire the grand abyss. Following our ride we will relax and enjoy a delicious lunch in the historic El Tovar dining room. For the ambitious among us, the post lunch ride along the East Rim drive offers more spectacular views through rolling terrain. Guests who prefer to travel below the Rim can join one of our guides on a hike down the South Kaibab Trail. This 3 to 6 mile round trip hike affords some of the best views the Canyon has to offer. Each step down the Kaibab trail takes you back 100,000 years in geologic time! Your trip leader will teach you the unique history, geology, flora and fauna along the way. Tonight we will celebrate our active exploration of Sedona and Grand Canyon with a festive group dinner and toast to our fantastic trip!

  • Cycling: 18 miles OR longer option 36 miles to Desert View (1000-foot elevation gain)
  • Hiking Option: South Kaibab Trail 3-6 miles (1200-2000-foot elevation gain)
  • Lodging: Enchantment Resort in Sedona, AZ

DAY 5: TRANSFER TO PHOENIX
We will provide transportation to a location of your choice on this day.
Depending on flight times we will gladly add something active and fun on this day!

  • Optional Activity
  • Lodging: on your own


So. Arizona


Southern Arizona – Sample Trip
6 Day Multi-sport

DAY 1:  HIKE THE BALLANTINE TRAIL

Hike the Ballantine trail in ArizonaMeet your guides in Phoenix and venture into the Tonto National Forest. The third largest National Forest in the country it spreads over 3 million acres of valleys, rivers and mountains filled with incredibly diverse flora and fauna, topography and history. We head northeast towards the Mazatzal Mountains (pronounced ‘ma-ta-zal’ by locals) to the Ballantine Trailhead. In a few moments, we find ourselves well beyond the sounds of civilization, ascending over a cactus-laden hill into a wide ravine shadowed by towering Giant Saguaros and massive granite boulders. After a delicious lunch on the trail we head to our idyllic home for the next two nights, Saguaro Lake Ranch, resting on the quiet banks of the Salt River below the Bulldog Cliffs. Tonight we relax and enjoy a classic cowboy cookout under the stars!

  • Hiking: 3 miles/1300 feet
  • Lodging: Saguaro Lake Ranch

DAY 2:  HIKE THE BULLDOG CLIFFS & KAYAK THE LOWER SALT RIVER

This morning, we shuttle by canoe to the base of the s 1000-foot Bulldog Cliffs. Our secluded trek begins through a bosque of mesquite trees before the trail slips into a gorgeous canyon replete with clear flowing springs and lush plant life before ascending to the steep, craggy summit. Amazing views of Tonto National Forest and beyond are a feast for the eyes. After our hike we lunch back at the ranch then kick back in kayaks to maneuver the beginner-friendly waters of the Lower Salt River. Keep your eyes open for wild horses, bald eagles and river otters as the cool water winds west towards the Valley of the Sun.

  • Hiking: 10 miles
  • Kayaking: 3 miles
  • Lodging: Saguaro Lake Ranch

Hike the bulldog cliffs on the salt River

DAY 3:  HIKE THE SUPERSTITION MOUNTAINS AND TRANSFER TO TUCSON

Awaken to a cup of fresh brewed coffee and hearty breakfast before we depart for the Peralta Trail in the Superstition Mountains. Apache folklore and geologic mysteries abound in the caves and canyons of these rocky desert mountains. Learn the legend of the Lost Dutchman and hear for yourself the call of the wild, luring explorers even today deeper and deeper in hopes of gold and hidden treasure. Enjoy lunch under a shady Cottonwood before climbing in the van to relax on the drive south to the vibrant, cultural town of Tucson. Rising a rapid vertical mile above the city to heights surpassing nine thousand feet, the beautiful Santa Catalina foothills serve as the backdrop for our home the next three nights. Tonight we stay at Hacienda del Sol, a colorful guest ranch where the famed John Wayne is known to have signed the guestbook a time or two.

  • Hiking: 4-8 miles
  • Lodging: Hacienda del Sol

DAY 4:  SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK & SONORAN DESERT MUSEUM

Wake up to Tucson’s gorgeous mountain backdrop!  Today, we visit Saguaro National Park, set in both the Rincon and Tucson mountain ranges of the valley.  Though a classic symbol of the American West and a staple in any desert-themed cartoon movie, the stately Saguaro cactus  (pronounced ‘Sa-WAH-ro’) in fact only grows naturally in the Sonoran Desert (roughly 1.6 million individual saguaro plants grow in the park!). Walk amongst these giants on our hike today, which takes us past old mine tunnels and ancient petroglyphs and includes the option to summit the highest point of the Tucson Mountains at 4,687 feet, Wasson Peak. After lunch and a glass of Prickly Pear Iced Tea at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, spend the rest of the afternoon exploring this world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden featuring over 1,200 plants and animals such as the adorable though unforgivably poisonous Gila Monster. Tonight we feast at the world’s best Mexican restaurant on flautas and carne asada doused of course in an unforgivably hot sauce…

  • Hiking: 4-8 miles
  • Lodging: Hacienda del Sol

DAY 5:  SABINO CANYON & SEVEN FALLS

Today’s hike explores the beautiful Sabino Canyon, bring along water shoes and a bathing suit because today’s desert trek leads to water! After crossing Sabino Creek several times, the trail rises up the side of Bear Canyon, leveling off at Seven Falls. Take a dip and a relaxing lunch break on the smooth boulders beside this series of pools before our hike down through this beautiful riparian oasis. Before dinner experience the pride and joy of Arizona as we drive up Santa Catalina Highway to Windy Point for an unbeatable sunset.

  • Hiking: 4-8 miles
  • Lodging: Hacienda del Sol

DAY 6:  ROMERO CANYON & HOHOKAM RUINS

Today we explore Romero Canyon, a gem of the Catalina Mountains’s and guide favorite in the Southwest! Birds and breezes serve as the soundtrack to our hike along the ridge, over the saddle, through this peaceful grassland. After an exciting visit to Hohokam ruins we will climb back in the van and return to Phoenix by evening.

  • Hiking: 10 miles
  • Lodging: On your own


Grand Canyon


Grand Canyon, Havasupai, Sedona – Sample Trip
5 day hiking trip

 DAY 1:  DRIVE FROM SCOTTSDALE TO GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARKIMG_0621

Meet your guides and head north through the Sonoran Desert and into the high elevation plateaus of north-central Arizona. In the late afternoon you will be exploring, learning and hiking along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We will visit Desert View and the famous Watchtower perched on the canyon’s edge, offering wonderful views of the Painted Desert and the canyon.  As you hike, your guides will introduce you to the unique flora, fauna, geology and cultural history of the area. In the afternoon we explore Grand Canyon Village and take a sunset walk on the Rim Trail. Take the time to appreciate the sun’s final rays as they glance off the crimson canyon walls.

  • Hiking: 3 – 5 miles
  • Lodging: El Tovar Lodge, Grand Canyon National Park

DAY 2:  GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK – HERMIT TRAIL TO DRIPPING SPRINGS

Traverse the West Rim to Hermit’s Rest where we drop deep below the rim through a rarely-visited side canyon.  This is one of the most fantastic fossil hunting areas in Grand Canyon, looking for dinosaur footprints is one highlight of our morning.  The trail is steep in sections, but the cobblestones provide secure footing. Lunch will be a picnic at Dripping Springs, once the home of the “Hermit”, Louis Boucher.  The perennial water allowed for a garden and a permanent base from which he could prospect for mineral ore.  True to his moniker, “the Hermit of Grand Canyon,” he left the Grand Canyon for good when this trail was completed.  After a detour to visit Santa Maria Springs we will ascend to the rim.

  • Hiking: 7-10 miles, 1500+ feet of elevation loss and gain
  • Lodging: El Tovar Lodge, Grand Canyon National Park

DAY 3:  DESCEND INTO THE BOTTOM OF THE GRAND CANYON

Drive to Hualapai Hilltop (pronounced “Walapai”), the only land travel access to Havasupai, a unique spot within the Grand Canyon.  Starting at 5,100 feet, the 10 mile trail switchbacks down to a dry streambed where it levels out.  However, we are going to bypass the hike into Havasupai and opt for the scenic and quick helicopter flight directly into the village. Here at 3,200 feet, we start our two-mile walk to our base camp. Tonight, sleep under the stars or retire to your spacious tent for a peaceful night of slumber. Learn more about Havasupai.

  • Hiking: 2-4 miles
  • Loding: Comfortable camping

DAY 4:  RELAX AND EXPLORE THE CANYON

See Rock falls on your guided hike into HavasupaiAwaken in  camp, nestled along Havasu Creek, beneath towering cottonwood trees and a short walk to enormous waterfalls. Today your guides will lead you on some of the most spectacular hikes in the world.  Cross tropical blue streams and wade through lush meadows of wild grapevines, even take a swim beside a 200-foot waterfall or just spend the day reading a book in a hammock by the creek.  Remember, it’s your vacation, make of it what you wish.

  • Hiking: 4-8 miles
  • Lodging: Comfortable Camping

DAY 5: RETURN TO THE RIM BY HELICOPTER

After breakfast, we hike to Supai village and catch a helicopter ride out of the canyon, watching the hikers below us tackle the dusty trail.  Once again at Hualapai Hilltop we will transfer to Sedona.  Here we will enjoy a breathtaking environment for experiencing everything from the spiritual to the adventurous. The first Anglo settlers moved into Sedona’s Oak Creek Canyon in 1879. They came for the reliable waters of Oak Creek for farming and ranching, although they most likely stayed because of the astounding beauty.  Tonight you will relax in one of Sedona’s finest resorts, L’Auberge, nestled in the heart of Red Rock country.

  • Hiking: 2-4 miles
  • Lodging: L’Auberge resort, Sedona, AZ

DAY 5: RED ROCK STATE PARK – EXPLORE THE TOWN OF SEDONA, RETURN TO SCOTTSDALE

Today is full of adventure in the picturesque town of Sedona.  Here we will enjoy a hike to a high perch  named the Eagle’s Nest overlooking Oak Creek, the Mogollon Rim to the north, the entire Sedona area, and the Verde River Valley.  After a picnic lunch in the park, stroll through the picturesque Sedona streets, home to artists, writers and New Age practitioners. Shop, have an ice cream, or just enjoy the sights. Tonight we return to Scottsdale and conclude our trip.

  • Hiking: 3-5 miles
  • Lodging: On your own tonight


FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How does planning a custom trip work?
A: On each adventure trip that we lead, our goal is always to provide the most memorable and personal experience for each of our guests. One way to do this is by creating a custom trip or tailoring an existing itinerary to suit your travel style. It’s simpler than you think.

Step 1: Call us!
Give us a general outline of your adventure vision, including your group size, the time of year or exact dates, the location(s) you’d like to travel, activities that interest you, and any special requests.

Step 2: We create your personalized itinerary and estimate of costs.
Keep in mind that it is a “custom trip proposal” and you may change, modify, add, or subtract anything you wish until it suits you and your budget perfectly.

Step 3: Hit the trail!
…or singletrack, or river, or sit on your chosen lodge’s veranda with a perfectly chilled beverage, learn all about the flora, fauna and geology – let our world-class guides help you create a life-long memory.

 Request a custom proposal

Q: Can we reserve and customize one of your regularly scheduled dates exclusively for us?
A: Yes! As long as there are no other customers booked on that date – it is yours and we can modify it to suit you.

Q: Is there a minimum or maximum amount of people for each trip?
A: We can accommodate groups ranging in size from 2-60 people.

Q: Is it more expensive to do a private or custom trip?
A:Not necessarily – there is no additional charge for a custom or private trip. However, pricing varies greatly and is always dependent on a number of factors such as group size, activities selected, accommodations preferred, special requests, and trip duration – all of which are under your control and at your discretion.

Q: Can we alter one of the example itineraries or standard trips you offer?
A: Yes, absolutely! The itineraries listed here are only intended to inspire you and show you what is possible. We will propose your own trip just for you! All of our trips can be extended, shortened, combined or modified however you wish.

Q: Can you do a trip in a location that you don’t talk about on your website?
A: As long as we have expertise in the area you have in mind – no problem. Even if we don’t we likely can work with one of our partners to create just the experience you have in mind. Want to join your favorite AOA guide rafting in Chile? We have just the trip for you…

 

AOA operates guided hiking and backpacking tours under permit by the Tonto National Forest.